Who in their right minds would rob an orchestra concert master in broad daylight, take his rare multi-million-dollar violin, and make off in a getaway minivan through the streets of Milwaukee? A local barber and gun licensee named Universal Knowledge Allah, that's who.
According to Milwaukee police and the Journal-Sentinel, the highly publicized January 27 theft of a Stradivarius violin—and the subsequent escape "in an older maroon minivan"—was masterminded by Allah (at right in the picture above) and an accomplice named Salah Salahadyn:
According to the criminal complaint, Salahadyn, also known as Salah Jones, had requested Allah, who has a concealed-weapons permit, to purchase a Taser stun gun for him last summer. Only permit holders may possess a Taser in Wisconsin. Allah apparently stored the weapon in a safe at the barbershop where he works until Salahadyn asked for it last month.
After the robbery, a customer at Allah's barbershop on N. King Drive heard him and other customers talking on Feb. 1 about the violin robbery. The tipster said that after his haircut Allah asked him for a ride home. During the ride, Allah mentioned that Salahadyn had "used the electric, not the heat," referring to using the Taser during the robbery.
For extra Big Brother value, authorities apparently "traced the sale of the Taser to Allah through tiny, unique bits of confetti emitted by the weapon."
Salahadyn was arrested in his house, where police found a "binder of articles about Stradivarius violins and art theft." He was convicted in the '90s of stealing a $20,000 sculpture from a hotel gallery and trying to sell it back to the gallery four years later.
Allah also faces charges for possession of marijuana.
[Photo credit: Police handout via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]